Video Gamers Winning Fair Use Trademark Cases
September 10, 2013
The appearance of unlicensed brand names in video games is on the rise after the Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that the medium has the same free speech protections as films, books, or music. Top-selling video game titles that rely on realism – such as Call of Duty, Godfather, and Grand Theft Auto – have used unlicensed trademarks and successfully defended doing so in recent court cases. The game’s creator has the relatively light burden of proving that the name has artistic relevance and consumers are not being misled. However, for many video game companies the court fees may make paying for licensing rights more appealing.
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